An analysis conducted by Positive Technologies has found that hackers can easily gain access to industrial environments by breaching corporate networks.

A discussion titled “Cyber Security for Industries’ Critical Assets and Infrastructure” showed just how frightening the state of cyber security within industrial IoT networks really is. With cyber experts such as Mark Luciw from ARC Advisory Group, Francis Cianfrocca from Bayshore Networks, and Matt Morris from Siemens on the panel to discuss the vulnerabilities, the panel was enlightening at best and terrifying at worst.

It highlighted the reality of security that industrial IoT networks are facing right now. With breaches being just a matter of when and not if, industrial owners are scrambling to patch vulnerabilities in their networks in an attempt to curb the cyber criminal threat. Unfortunately, industrial owners will almost always prioritize capital gains and short-term profit margins over the stability and safety of having proper cyber security protocols in place. This raises concerns over the network safety of many of the world’s top industrial businesses, putting critical information such as customer and employee data at risk of being leaked into the dark web by cyber criminals.

Corporate Hacking is on the Rise

Corporate cyber crime has become an increasingly problematic issue for industrial corporations and it’s only getting worse. Not only are cyber criminals disrupting industrial IoT networks, but they have grown advanced and sophisticated enough that they can now profit from their skills with little to no risk. Billions are lost annually and the numbers will only increase as more cyber criminals realize just how low-cost and low-risk it can be to use corporate hacking to their advantage.

Compared to companies that operate with high risk, corporate hacking is a low-risk high-reward venture because very few hackers are caught thanks to their safety measures that prevent them from being discovered. As more criminals realize the potential with cyber crime, it will start to become more organized and future attacks may involve several attackers using advanced technologies and strategies to monetize the information and access they acquire from your industrial corporation.

It can be extremely costly for a business to recuperate from losses caused by a security breach. Not only does it cause an initial backlash that must be responded with appropriate compensation, but an industrial corporation can lose millions through client trust, future opportunities, abuse of intellectual property and also a drop in market share. Any company that has suffered a cyber criminal attack has found it incredibly difficult to recover from the losses, and it’s this fear that has caused many businesses to rethink their approach to cyber security.

Operational and Information Technologies Must Communicate

An analysis conducted by Positive Technologies has found that hackers can gain full access to industrial environments once they have breached the corporate network. This goes to show that both the operational technology and information technology facets of an industrial corporation need to communicate and work together in order to safeguard the organization’s interests. The study was based on sets of data provided by 12 different companies that were in the oil and gas, metallurgy, and energy sectors.

The study showed that 73% of cases found that the corporate network was easily penetrated with conventional cyber criminal methods and nothing special was required in order to breach the system. By using security vulnerabilities in each system, specialists were able to gain access to the entire industrial IoT network of a corporation and access restricted files. The vulnerabilities used included weak passwords, vulnerable operating systems, and software with exploitable bugs and features.

Industrial corporations aren’t as technologically advanced as some major IT corporations and this can result in weaker security systems due to their lack of understanding on how to deal with threats such as ransomware that could halt operations or destructive malware that could cause major damage to an industrial corporation’s reputation and processes. It’s vital to have a deeper understanding of both operational and information technologies and the ways they can communicate with each other in order to secure your industrial IoT networks from cyber crime attacks.

Making Industrial Networks as Secure as Possible

Most buildings are now “smart” with modern devices that could control anything from backup power to security cameras and lighting. This has given companies a lot of flexibility and control over their devices as a whole, but most of these devices are only secured with a single firewall with minimal protection. That single line of defense creates a potential security concern due to there being only a single layer of protection, and this could give cyber criminals unfiltered access to control your industrial equipment that is connected to your network. Harry Forbes, an Industry Analyst at ARC Advisory Group, also wrote in an article that if we can’t make industrial devices more secure, then the focus must shift to securing industrial IoT networks instead and ensuring that they are as safe as possible.

Something like this can be achieved with our NICOS module, giving industrial corporations the ability to control and monitor their IoT-style networks with ease. You’ll be able to control, monitor, and secure your operations technology networks and safeguard your corporate IT infrastructure. With a smart threat intelligence framework that recognizes known bad traffic, unusual domains, and obfuscated or anonymous traffic, you can obtain a complete IoT security solution to solve your cyber crime concerns. Being able to visualize and manage devices on your network in a safe manner opens up possibilities for building automated systems, setting up alarm systems, controlling security cameras, lighting controls, irrigation controls, access controls, and even more.

If you operate a large industrial corporation, then securing your IoT network with these features is incredibly important. By monitoring malicious network traffic, detecting dark web usage, and blocking malicious port scanning attempts, you can safeguard your business and protect it against the increasing threat of cyber attacks that could cripple your business and cause millions in potential damages.

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